Retailers hold key to sustainable behaviour

Brands must work more closely with retailers to make their sustainability activities more tangible for consumers, according to a report by Havas Media.

The Brand Sustainable Futures report says that retailers are the “gatekeepers” of information that help consumers adopt sustainable behaviour and product choices.

Speaking today (26 October) at the World Retail Congress in Berlin, Sara de Dios López, Havas Media director of global business innovation, says: “Through their ability to create the context for responsible consumption, retailers can make it easier, more engaging and relevant for consumers who are trying to live more sustainably.”

De Dios López adds that retailers act like Google for brands because they are in a “perfect position to help consumers navigate” sustainable products and choices.”

For retailers, the study claims that sustainability efforts contribute more to their brand’s equity when they go beyond CSR communications and become “tangible” to consumers.

It also revealed that there is still a gap between consumers’ intentions and behaviours and price is still the main barrier to “responsible consumption” in western economies which puts retailers in pole position to help change habits.

The study shows that retailers’ sustainability attributes as an employer are also key to building brand equity because internal advocacy has a strong influence on consumer perceptions.

UK retail brands dominate the top 10 global retail brands in the study with four of the top five slots taken by UK retail brands, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, John Lewis and Sainsbury’s but the report warns that other sectors such as automotives and energy brands are catching up with retail’s lead on sustainability.

M&S scored the highest of all global retail brands because of its Plan A programme.

The report surveyed 30,000 consumers on 150 brands across nine global markets on their perceived sustainable performance.

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